by JASON GORDON
A lot of basketball teams would have heard quite a lot of yelling and shouting from coaches after falling behind by 13 points at halftime.
Lehman boys head coach Thomas Acker took a different approach Friday when his Lobos were on the road against Wimberley.
“I didn’t yell, I didn’t go through a lot of rah, rah stuff,” Acker said. “I told them there were no X’s and O’s I could draw up on the board to fix what was wrong. I told them we had to get tougher and we had to pay more attention to detail. I also told them we were going to win, because that’s what I believed.”
It turns out Acker was right ,as Lehman won its fourth straight game heading into the district season, 66-63, in overtime over the Texans.
“Coach told us to play tougher and execute, and that’s what we did,” said Lehman senior point guard De’ Andre Carson, who led the Lobos with 20 points and eight assists. “It shows that we won’t back down to anyone and we won’t stop fighting until the end. We do everything we can to pull out the victory.”
Lehman’s overall record improved to 10-8, as the Lobos prepare to host Alamo Heights for their district opener Friday night, but the win over Wimberley was a struggle.
After trailing 38-23 at halftime, Lehman came out red hot in the second half.
Guard Manny Santibanez hit 3-pointers on three straight Lobo possessions, and Carson nailed four 3-pointers in the third quarter, and Lehman took a 48-46 lead into the final eight minutes of play because of their 23-8 run.
“We just made shots and gained a lot of momentum,” Acker said. “I told them to make baskets and get stops on defense, and that’s what we were doing in the third quarter. After Manny and De’ Andre started hitting those threes, our bench came alive and we were feeling it as a team.”
Still, the fourth quarter was close.
Lehman led 57-54, as Wimberley had possession with just over 10 seconds remaining.
“I told the guys during the timeout, guard the 3-point line and don’t foul,” Acker said.
It turned out that even though Lehman played some pretty tight defense, the Lobos couldn’t prevent either scenario from happening.
Wimberley guard Seth Linker nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key that went through the net as the final buzzer sounded to tie the score at 57.
Linker had a chance to win the game on his home court with no other players at the free-throw line around him and no time left on the clock. His free throw attempt went in, around and out of the basket to give the Lobos new life.
“I told our guys that the momentum was all back on their side now but we have a second chance, and that’s what life is all about,” Acker said. “I told them we had to take advantage of it.”
That’s exactly what Lehman did, as Carson scored four points and Santibanez, who finished the game with 14 points, hit three free throws in overtime.
Wimberley hit what was this time a meaningless 3-pointer at the buzzer, to make the final score a bit closer.
Danny Blakemore helped Lehman stay in the game early by scoring all eight of his points in the first quarter. Robert Salinas, Craig Shields and Santibanez each had five rebounds to lead the Lobos.
Lehman now gets to turn its attention to the district season and a trip back to the playoffs. The Lobos made the playoffs for the first time ever two seasons ago, but narrowly missed out on the playoffs last season.
“I think we’re going to do great in district,” Carson said. “We just have to give it our all in every single game. I definitely feel we are a playoff team.”
Acker said Lehman’s tough non-district schedule would help.
“I didn’t schedule a single cupcake during non-district,” Acker said. “That, along with the fact many of our games have come right down to the final buzzer, will help us in district action. Playoffs is definitely the goal for our team, and I think it’s a realistic one if we just keep getting better.”
- Dreams of playoffs still on minds of Lehman hoopsters 11/28/2012
- Champion too much for Lobos in 51-37 loss 01/21/2013
- Lobo boys hoops get Buffaloed 82-77 02/6/2013